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Old 28.04.2020, 17:08
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Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

Hi

Does anyone know an interpreter in or near Kussnacht for a our home purchase signing meeting with a notary in Kussnacht? Failing that, any idea how to find one? Google search isn't helping much
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Old 28.04.2020, 17:13
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

Does the notary not speak English?
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Old 28.04.2020, 17:20
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

If you're using a realtor for the house sale/buy, check with that person - they are usually well connected. Alternatively, ping a note to the Germeinde office nearest to the house address - they often have directories of recommended persons?
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Old 28.04.2020, 17:25
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

I have been using someone from the notary office after signing power of attorney to this person.

The notary was speaking English but didn't want us to signed a contract we couldn't read. So we signed a power of attorney (we couldn't read).

It works well, normally you already understand the contract.

edit: it was in Schwyz
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Old 28.04.2020, 17:42
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

Try ENG_CH on here. She offers translation/interpretation services and came with us to our first general meeting.

When we bought in Schwyz we had a lawyer go through the sales contract for any issues, so understood it anyway. At the notary, I translated everything for my girlfriend who doesn‘t speak German. The notary clearly spoke perfect English, as I think she even made a small correction for me, but understandably they want to make sure you understand the language of the contract. Girlfriend also had to sign a power of attorney though.
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Old 28.04.2020, 17:44
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

Also you don't have to use that notary if you don't want to, you can ask for another or suggest your own if you have one.

Our notary spoke English and went through our contract paragraph by paragraph to make sure both parties understood it.
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Old 28.04.2020, 17:54
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

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Also you don't have to use that notary if you don't want to, you can ask for another or suggest your own if you have one.

Our notary spoke English and went through our contract paragraph by paragraph to make sure both parties understood it.
I assume Kussnacht is the one in Schwyz. There you have to use the regional one.
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Old 28.04.2020, 17:55
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

User Mullhollander also does interpreting.
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Old 28.04.2020, 18:06
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

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I assume Kussnacht is the one in Schwyz. There you have to use the regional one.
And if it is the one in ZH then it is the same. For legal reason the notary, which is an independent non-affiliated party, can not provide translation services.
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Old 29.04.2020, 07:34
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

I had the exact same request.

Ended up finding a lawyer that would translate the contract beforehand into English for me to read, and provide his professional opinion on the contractual clauses (some were a bit different to what I'm used to in other countries). He also explained the Swiss process (we bought privately from the seller).

On the day, the notary was happy that I had sought independent legal advice, and also called in someone from his team who spoke lawless English to make sure I was happy.

Note that I was NOT allowed to sign the purchase agreement as I could not read it (in German). I signed a power of attorney (in English), to allow someone else (who spoke German) to sign the contract. We both confirmed that the wording of the documentation matched the one I had translated, and the amendments I had requested (e.g. electrical certificate) were included.


EDIT: I would provide you with the details of the guy I used, but my understanding is that the process is VERY regional (especially with regards to costs). Find someone local.
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Old 29.04.2020, 08:35
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

First, thank you all for your comments. Let me summarize them as I understand it:
  1. The laws in Schwyz means that the interpreter probably needs to be from there.
  2. Whoever it is will get a power of attorney to sign on our behalf, as the notary cannot provide translation services and must be assured that we understand the contract, but we cannot sign in a language we don't understand.
  3. It may be good to get a lawyer who speaks English, given that a power of attorney must be given, and they can explain and go over the contract with us.
  4. The Gemeinde may be able to help us.

Thanks for all the useful information everyone. I think in conclusion I'm better off trying to find a lawyer than an interpreter.
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Old 29.04.2020, 09:43
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

in my case, in Schwyz the personne I gave the power of attorney was just someone at the notary office who speak English not a professional translater.

So she could signed for us. The notary didn't want us to put our signature on a document we couldn't read. The notary was also speaking English.

it was a good, easy and cheap.
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Old 29.04.2020, 11:17
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

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in my case, in Schwyz the personne I gave the power of attorney was just someone at the notary office who speak English not a professional translater.

So she could signed for us. The notary didn't want us to put our signature on a document we couldn't read. The notary was also speaking English.

it was a good, easy and cheap.
That's interesting to know. We're going to contact the notary directly to ask them.
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Old 29.04.2020, 12:16
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

I'm limited to only 4 PMs a day, so I'd like to say thanks to Ameth for the link to a lawyer.
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Old 01.05.2020, 13:26
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Re: Finding interpreter for home purchase notary meeting - Kussnacht

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Also you don't have to use that notary if you don't want to, you can ask for another or suggest your own if you have one.
That depends on canton. Zurich, for instance, has public notaries who handle everything, including the land register, so you have no choice about using the notary for your district. Other cantons operate a system of private notaries, but you may well not be dealing with a notary, but the Grundbuchamt (land registry) in that case.

In terms of the notary's appointment, I've experienced both scenarios: you sign and I interpret, or you give me a power of attorney to sign on your behalf. Different Grundbuch authorities have different preferences.

To the OP, as eyebeebee said (thanks!), this is something I do on a fairly regular basis; I also translate contracts of sale, mortgage offers etc. If you want one or the other, contact me for a price; otherwise I also offer a package service. I have extensive experience of the property market in Switzerland, having bought 4 times - including building - and sold twice, which is much more than most Swiss natives!

In the current circumstances, translating the contract is going to be easier than interpreting, but I guess they'll find a way round it with social distancing.

Where are you buying? What stage are you at in the process and when are you expecting to have the notary's appointment? Feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss the options.

On a more general note:
I realise I'm not unbiased, but I am also an expert and I have to say this: I know many people simply want to navigate the language barrier as cheaply as possible, thinking it's yet another apparently unnecessary cost in an already expensive process "because everyone speaks English". But bear in mind this is one of the largest transactions you are ever going to engage in, you are absolutely 100% solely responsible for the consequences of your decision to buy (which is why the notaries refuse to let you sign until you know exactly what you are committing to) and - even more than in other countries - it's neither quick, easy nor cheap to get out of if you find you have made a mistake or committed to terms you are ultimately unhappy with.
Is full comprehension something you really want to skimp on? Do you really want to rely on the notary or lawyer's level of English and risk thinking you know what's going on when they may have either mis-translated or failed to explain clearly enough? Or find out (too much) later that what they were trying to explain and what you understood them to have explained were actually very far apart? Just think about the potential consequences before you write off professional translation and interpreting as "too expensive".

Last edited by eng_ch; 01.05.2020 at 13:38.
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